For most people, the topic of humility is a prickly, uncomfortable subject. The world doesn’t understand what it means to be humble, and therefore confuses it with being a doormat or letting others take advantage of them. However, godly humility isn’t a sign of weakness, but of great strength and power. Understanding meekness as it relates to God’s Word gives us victory in an area where others are struggling.
We’ve been conditioned by the prevailing cultural mindset to live by a “me first” attitude. This tells us that we only win in life by pushing others aside, and encourages us to do whatever is necessary to obtain our own agenda. However, the believer lives by a different code of ethics. “For the LORD delights in his people; he crowns the humble with victory” (Psalm 149:4, NLT). It’s God’s will for His people to succeed in life; He’s well able to open doors to opportunities and do things that we can’t.
We don’t always have to be first in line. This kind of thinking may feel strange at first, because we usually see the exact opposite around us. However, being a Christian means we are to live in the world without being part of it. When we choose a humble lifestyle, God has a way of turning things around. “Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up” (James 4:10).
We live in a world that exalts pride; this reinforces in our spirits the sense that we don’t belong here. We find ourselves surrounded by secular philosophies that deny God’s very existence and promote self-effort as the path to success. “The wicked, through the pride of his countenance, will not seek after God: God is not in all his thoughts” (Psalm 10:4). However, the things that the world counts as success don’t matter at all in God’s eyes. It’s never easy living in an environment like this, but God rewards those who resist the outward pressure to conform.
The attitude of a servant is pleasing to God. In the Old Testament, David humbly served as a shepherd until the season arrived when God promoted him to a king. During His ministry, Jesus perfectly modeled what servanthood looks like. This is an important lesson for Christians, and He had to remind His disciples of this periodically. “But Jesus called them unto him, and said, Ye know that the princes of the Gentiles exercise dominion over them, and they that are great exercise authority upon them. But it shall not be so among you: but whosoever will be great among you, let him be your minister; And whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant: Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many” (Matthew 20:25-28).
It takes a great deal of faith to live by eternal truths that others don’t see, but exist nevertheless. Anyone who chooses to walk in pride sets themselves against God, Himself, without even knowing it; this is not a good place to be. “But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble” (James 4:6). Grace is God’s undeserved favor in our lives, and it causes promotion and elevation apart from our own self-efforts. Letting others see what godly humility looks like is a powerful witness for Christ.